Longtime psychologist and educator was keynote speaker for MLK Day celebration

January 13, 2021

Cheshire Academy was pleased to host Dr. Keith Hinderlie, licensed psychologist and educator, as the keynote speaker for this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration on Jan. 18.

While many schools close on MLK Day, Cheshire Academy uses the federal holiday to invite distinguished guests and speakers to campus and hold day-long discussions and events in honor of King. In 1990, Cheshire Academy students led a peaceful sit-in protest with the belief that King deserved a special observance, later evolving into a day of discussion about King and civil rights. The now-annual tradition was born out of that day 31 years ago.

This year’s celebration theme was titled “Updates on the Dream,” with programming focused on the status of the ideals proposed by King in his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech. CA’s entire celebration was virtual.

Katurah A. Bryant.

Hinderlie has over 20 years of experience working with adults, youth, and families, and has presented workshops across the country on the topics of diversity, inclusion, multicultural competence, and the social and emotional experiences of children. Most recently, Hinderlie served as inaugural chief diversity officer at Choate Rosemary Hall.

Following Hinderlie’s keynote address, students, faculty, and staff attended smaller workshops, discussion groups, and a film screening focused on gaining a deeper understanding of King’s words and overall message. Leading the workshops was Katurah A. Bryant, a published author, creator, and facilitator of The ZOLA Experience: A Journey of Recovery from Loss. Bryant recently retired from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, and from her role as the assistant director of the substance abuse treatment unit at the Connecticut Mental Health Center. She has contributed to the fields of health, wellness, and recovery as a licensed marriage family therapist, registered nurse, and a licensed addiction specialist with over 30 years of experience.

As part of CA’s annual celebration, the Black Student Union sponsored a MLK Day Poetry Competition. The competition served as an opportunity for members of the CA community to use creative writing as a tool to express the personal meaning and impact of King’s words more than 50 years after his death.